SwingOut Catchall

My goal for the Craft Rehab category on Birdz of a Feather is to encourage sustainable crafting by providing inspirational upcycles using unexpected materials. It’s all about the 3 R’s – reduce, reuse and recycle! If you’re a fan of Craft Rehab, you’ve seen this time and time again through projects such as my Valentine’s Day Paint Stick Pallet, Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art, Soda Bottle Vertical Garden, Paint Bucket Water Feature and Blue Jean Planter, to name a few!

Today I’m bringing you another new and innovative project that you won’t find on Pinterest – yet. You saw it here first!

One day when I was making tuna for lunch, I had an epiphany about the can! Why not use it to create a stacked swing-out catchall that could be used for jewelry, office supplies or even in the kitchen to corral hot drink supplies?

You may be a little doubtful that you can turn a tuna can into something you’d want to put on full display in the bedroom, kitchen or office, but have a look at the video. My catchall is both attractive and useful – in an industrial sort of way 🙂

While I worked with the natural antique gold colour of the cans, you could paint them any colour you want to suit your own decor!

To make your own Tuna Can SwingOut Catchall, you will need:

The following list contains affiliate links for your crafting convenience.

  • 4 tuna cans and 4 lids (plus one additional lid if you want a cover on top)
  • 1 rigid straight straw (inner post)
  • 1 wide smoothie straw (outer sections)
  • Kuhn can opener
  • Hot glue or something more permanent like gorilla glue
  • White glue
  • Scissors
  • Hacksaw or bandsaw
  • 3/4″ black iron pipe (whatever height you desire)
  • 2 black iron flanges

For demonstration purposes, from this point forward you’ll notice that I’m using neon-coloured straws for the outer sections so you can differentiate the pieces. To make this for actual use, I would recommend using a clear straw so it blends right in and doesn’t clash with the colour of the tuna cans (you’ll see how that looks on the jewellery catchall near the end).

The Secret to Making it Work

To make the swing-out feature work, I used extra wide smoothie straws which need to be big enough to slip easily over a rigid straight straw. That’s the secret to creating the pivot action: if the outer straw is too tight, the cans won’t swing easily, but if too loose they might sag – so fit is important. I even found that some of the straws within the same package were smaller than others so make sure you test them together before you glue anything onto the cans!

The rigid straight straw that acts as the pivot post is the kind used in insulated cups. If you happen to have an insulated cup that leaks, you can harvest the straw from that. You can also buy the straws in a 6-pack as shown below.

Test the fit of the two straws before you cut and assemble!

Getting Started

Use a smooth-edge can opener, such as the Kuhn, to open your tuna cans. It cuts from the side leaving the rim smooth, not sharp or jagged, which is important for safe handling and use.

Measure the side of the tuna can from below the top rim to the bottom and cut four ‘sections’ of smoothie straw to that length.

Although I used hot glue to attach the smoothie straw sections to the side of each can, I found that it is easily removable on the slick metal surface of the tuna can, so use something more permanent like gorilla glue or the like if you want it to last.

Ensure the pieces are glued straight up and down. If you get them off-kilter it could interfere with the swing-out action – and will show uneven gaps.

Temporarily pop the lids onto the cans so you can stack them and measure the total height. Add 1/2 and inch or so and cut the straight straw to that measurement, then set aside (I used my bandsaw to cut it, but you could also use a hacksaw).

Cut three spacers to fit in between the cans. The best way to measure for the spacers is to thread the cans onto the straw and measure the gap (mine were about 3/16″). If you don’t add the spacers, the cans won’t be well supported and the swing out function won’t work properly.

By the way, the picture below shows you what a mistake looks like: there shouldn’t be such large gaps between the cans themselves. I took this picture after I discovered the outer straw was too tight and had to start over again. It serves to show you what will happen if you don’t test the fit before you glue so you can learn from my mistake 🙂

I made my own labels for the cans, cut them out and glued them on with white glue. (If anyone wants them, let me know in the comments and I’ll share a printable pdf on my Facebook page).

If you want a chalk-board effect, apply the white glue to the can and be sure NOT to get glue on the face of the label (the chalk won’t adhere to glue).

Once dry, rub chalk over the front of the labels.

Blend the chalk by lightly wiping with a piece of paper towel, leaving a chalky haze.

Glue the lids onto the bottom of each can. This will help them nestle properly once they are stacked onto the straight straw.

Insert the straight straw through the smoothie straw section of the bottom can.

Follow with a spacer, the second can, another spacer, the third can, then the last spacer and can.

Once finished stacking the cans, I looked around for something to finish off the open end of the straight straw. I unscrewed the end cap from a dried-up ball-point pen.

I inserted the cap into the top of the straight straw and it fit perfectly inside! Add a dab of glue to secure it and finish off the open end as shown below.

Make a Stand

To make a stand, I used a 3″ length of 3/4″ black iron pipe leftover from another project and screwed it onto a flange.

I also glued a second flange onto the lid of the tuna can which was then glued onto the bottom of one of the cans.

This allows you to attach the stand to give it some height as shown below. The black iron pipe and flanges also weigh down the catchall to act as a counterbalance to the swing out so it doesn’t tip when it’s loaded up and fully open! The pipe is both practical and pretty.

Load it Up and Swing into Action

Here it is in the kitchen being used as a hot drink station.

In the overhead shot below, you’ll notice that I switched out the neon straw for a clear one. The sections swing out to reveal your stash and then close right back up again.

This one above shows the catchall holding lewellery and hair elastics – but you could individualize it to hold any small items; office supplies such as paper and binder clips would be another great way to use it. Just make your own printable labels to reflect whatever you’re storing (there are also chalk labels on Amazon that come with a chalk pen that you can use if you don’t want to permanently print your own).

Source: Amazon

If you want, you can even add a lid for the top (I glued a small pipe clamp on it to act as a handle). Although I left the lid as-is and didn’t paint it, you could paint the lid black or antique gold if you wish.

If you enjoyed this post, please pin to save it for later and share!

I can’t wait to show you my newest upcycle project! It all starts with this rusty old fire pit I found on garbage day. Stay tuned (or subscribe) to see what I do with it!

For more upcycled craft ideas, visit the Craft Rehab‘ section of Birdz of a Feather and browse around. Here are a few crafts you’ll find:

From upper left to right:

In addition to crafts, you’ll also find home and garden DIYS. Here are a few recent DIY projects:

From left to right:

Recipes are on the site too under the Unknown Chef category.

You can follow right here (link in the footer) or via Bloglovin’ (link below this post).

Oh My Goth (Part 2) - Make a Halloween Tombstone | Birdz of a Feather

Oh My Goth (Part 2) - Make a Halloween Tombstone | Birdz of a Feather

 

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Valentine’s Paint Stick Pallet Art

Birdz of a Feather will be on Hiatus soon, so with Valentines Day just a month away, I’m resurrecting an old Valentine’s project – which will be new to recent subscribers 🙂

I wanted to make a little something for my sweetie that would have meaning on multiple levels. Since we’ve done so much DIY renos together, I was inspired by a pallet. In keeping with our mission to lead a more sustainable life, and keep things from landfill, I repurposed paint sticks and 1″x2″ lumber to make a miniature version of the pallet that hubs could easily display in his office. It turned out to be a great way to use up old paint sticks amassed over years of painting and renovating past (and present) homes.

I started by designing an 8 1/2″ x  11″ picture using the charicature we had done for our wedding. I superimposed it into a ‘puzzle piece heart’ I drew with the words ‘you complete me’ – the perfect sentiment for any soul mate!

Of course, if you choose to make your own Paint Stick Pallet, you’ll use your own personal artwork to make it unique to you! Watch the quick two-minute video below to see how easy it is (and subscribe to our YouTube Channel while you’re at it!)

Let’s Get Started

I first determined how many paint sticks I would need. Ten was the perfect number for an 8 1/2″ x 11″ piece of paper. I printed it out on my colour printer using regular paper.

Paint Stick Pallet Wall Art for Valentines 011_bof.jpg

I could have gone for a more straight-laced picture from our wedding like the one below, but given the choice between serious and humour, I’ll choose humour every time!

Wedding Digital 038_bof.jpg

I took packing tape and applied three strips across the back of the paint sticks to keep them all together and flipped it over.

Paint Stick Pallet _6.jpg

Then I mixed up a ratio of 50:50 glue to water. I had some leftover glue from the hardwood we recently installed in my craft studio, so I just used that (glue only has a shelf life of about one year).

Paint Stick Pallet Wall Art for Valentines 013_bof.jpg

I used a foam brush to lay down a thin layer of the glue mixture on the paint sticks. The trick to keeping paper from bubbling when you decoupage is to keep the application of glue thin and let it dry a bit until tacky. Then you can lay down the paper and smooth it out.

paint-stick-pallet-wall-art-for-valentines-017_bof

To disguise the white boarder of the paper, I outlined around the edges with a marker in a coordinating colour after the glue was dry.

Paint Stick Pallet _5.jpg

I applied a coat of water based varnish, let it dry overnight and then applied a second coat to seal and protect it.

Paint Stick Pallet _3.jpg

Once the varnish was dry, I cut around the edges of the picture on my bandsaw. I removed the packing tape on the back of the paint sticks, then I cut each individual piece apart.

Paint Stick Pallet _1.jpg

I assembled my paint sticks and added in spacers in between (using another paint stick on it’s side) so I could measure for the length of the 1″x2’s”.

paint-stick-pallet-wall-art-for-valentines-042_bof

I cut three pieces of 1″ x 2″ and turned them on their sides. I glued the paint sticks on top leaving a gap in between until they were all glued onto the lumber.

paint-stick-pallet-wall-art-for-valentines-044_bof

I added some scrap paint sticks on top and weighed the whole thing down with my vintage irons as the glue dried.

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Once it had time to dry, I measured and cut 4 more paint sticks to apply underneath the ‘skid’  with finishing nails. I was going to add the finishing nails onto the face of the skid too, but I couldn’t bear to detract from the picture. As an option, if you want the look of nails on the surface of the boards, you could take a silver sharpie and add two little dots to each one to mimick the nail heads.

On the back, I added picture hanging wire between two screw eyes to hang it up. I can’t wait for Valentines day to arrive so I can give it to hubs; I hope he likes it!

Paint Stick Pallet Wall Art for Valentines 059_bof.jpg

Don’t forget to pin and share if you enjoyed this post.

With the paint stick pallet complete, I guess we’ve got a real ‘paint’ theme going on at Birdz of a Feather craft! Most recently, we just completed this paint bucket water feature:

paint-bucket-water-feature-124_bof

And remember this paint chip portrait I did of hubs?

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For another fun craft idea that isn’t paint-related, check out my blue jean planter 🙂

standing-planter-095_bof

Check out some other great Valentine’s Day ideas at DIYIdeaCenter.

 

Follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in footer or on homepage) or Bloglovin (linkbelow) and you’ll get an e-mail next time I post a new craft project.

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Water Leak Repair (Part 1) – Install a Frost Proof Faucet

Happy New Year everyone! For our first post of 2018, we’re getting down to some serious home repair issues.

Some of you may remember the reveal of my craft studio in our newly finished basement. I was also supposed to reveal the mancave right on its heels, but there was a good reason why that didn’t happen for a long time. One morning I went into my craft studio and noticed a swooshing sound coming from the area carpet underfoot; not a good sign. I then found this on top of my dresser:

The cup was supposed to be empty and now it was full of water! Then I looked around and saw that all of our perfectly fitted and caulked baseboards had warped and popped off the walls.

Patches of paint were cracked and peeling on hub’s once-flawless drywall.

Eeeeek – we had a water leak!! But what caused it?

I noticed that the path of the water was near the window, however the drywall damage was right up against the edge of a cabinet which suggested that the water might not have come in from the window itself.

It was right underneath the end cabinet where the water had gathered in the cup on top of my dresser. I opened the cabinet door and discovered that all my books were soaking wet. I removed them and when I looked up, I saw the access hole for the shut-off valve to our outdoor faucet and suspected a leak in the pipe could be the culprit.

Once I determined that the leak wasn’t currently active, there was nothing more that I could do to until hubs got home from work; I didn’t want to disturb the ‘scene of the crime’ until he was there to help determine where the water had come from. Finding the source was going to require some investigative work to rule out a myriad of possibilities.

Once hubs got home, we took down the cabinet to investigate further and get better access to the water shutoff.

Although there wasn’t an active leak, there was dampness. We had to act quickly to prevent mold damage, so we turned our attention to clearing out the room. In part 2 of this series, I’ll show you what we did to remediate mold.

The Culprit

So what actually caused our leak? Our frost proof faucet burst. Below you can clearly see the split in the pipe. Before we could proceed to put my craft studio back together, hubs had to remove the frost proof faucet and replace it with another one.

We were scratching our heads wondering what could have caused our frost proof faucet to fail when it’s guaranteed frost proof. Are you wondering too? Well, a frost proof faucet is only foolproof AS LONG AS YOU DON’T FORGET TO REMOVE THE HOSE. You can get away with not turning off the water, but you have to disconnect the hose before winter comes! We’re not 100% certain, but there’s a good chance that hubs forgot to detach our water hose last fall. When winter settled in, the water probably back up from the hose, froze in the pipe and caused the split. Then in the spring, when he went to turn on the tap to fill the pond in our backyard, we got more than we bargained for. In retrospect, I now realize why it seemed to take longer than normal to fill the pond last spring: some water was going into the pond and some right into our basement!

What’s that – more questions? You might also be wondering “why didn’t you just call the insurance company to come take care of the repairs?” For one, we have a deductible. Since hubs initially did all the work to begin with, he was able to do the repairs himself for much less than the deductible would have been. But it wasn’t just a matter of the money; hubs was so proud of the work he did in the basement that he didn’t want any old contractor slapping it back together. It had to be just as perfect as it was before and the only way to do that is to do it yourself. Secondly, we didn’t want our insurance to go up either when we had the capability to make our own repairs; we’ve never made a claim, but who knows?

The only drawback to fixing this mess was that it took a long time and I was without a craft space in the interim. Actually, there was more than one drawback: lets not forget how exhausted poor hubs was after renovating the basement single handedly in the first place. All he wanted to do was finally sit and relax in his mancave but then the leak happened – poor guy! He barely had a chance to enjoy the fruit of his labour and now he had more labour again than he ever bargained for.

The picture below demonstrates the forces of nature: you can see how frozen water burst open the stem of the sillcock (as compared against the new replacement).

By installing a frost free outdoor faucet, you will decrease the chances of having a pipe burst in your home (just don’t forget to remove the hose in the fall!).

Here’s our new replacement.

By the way, the plastic wedge that we removed below is provided to compensate for lap siding installations. It slips between the frost-proof flange and the siding to form an attractive finish and solid base for mounting. Since ours was a brick application, we didn’t use it.

A properly installed frost-free sillcock will have a slight downward pitch (as show below), so that when the water is turned off, the water will all drain out of the stem. If you fail to do this, the water will sit inside the stem of the sillcock even when it’s turned of and you’ll end up with the same burst pipe as you saw above. This is something we double checked when we replaced our old one (and why we enlarged the bottom of the hole as you’ll see later)!

Source: http://www.startribune.com/a-few-little-tricks-to-make-sure-your-outside-faucets-don-t-freeze/137470183/

The first order of business is to find the shutoff valve and turn off the water. In our house the shutoff is in the ceiling, but if you have a newer home, the valve is typically located right next to the main water valve.

If for some reason you don’t have a shutoff, you’ll need to turn off the water main until the new installation is done. If you have a plumber doing this work for you, you might want to ask him to install a shutoff for future convenience.

Once the water is turned off inside the house, open the outside faucet to allow any water to drain. You need to drain whatever water might still be in the pipe so you can de-solder the pipe connections to remove the old one.

To de-solder the connections, you’ll need some gloves, a wrench and a propane torch. To prep the area, put a piece of tin foil against the joists so you don’t catch the wood on fire – you don’t want to burn your house down in the process of preventing further water damage, do you? As you can see by the scorch mark above, the contractor that built our house didn’t bother with this step!

Put on your gloves, hold the pipe with a wrench and apply heat to the joints to ease them apart. Remove the old sillcock from the outside.

To ensure a better downward pitch, hubs increased the length of the hole.

It gave him more leeway to adjust the pitch. He did a dry fit with a level to ensure that the sillcock would indeed have a downward pitch.

Note that if you were working with siding instead of brick, you would use the supplied plastic wedge behind the flange before inserting the sillcock into the hole. You would then secure it to the siding with wood screws before soldering the connections on the inside to keep it perfectly level.

Source: http://www.diynetwork.com/how-to/skills-and-know-how/plumbing/how-to-install-a-frost-free-sillcock

Back on the inside, hubs cleaned the copper pipe with some fine sandpaper to make a solid new connection to the silcock. You need to ensure the pipe is clean of any debris or the solder will not seat properly.

Before soldering, make sure the new sillcock valve is in the open position to let hot gases escape and avoid burning the rubber seat washer (you could burst the pipe again). Hubs then added some flux and soldered it all together to make the new connection.

While hubs was soldering, I was holding the pipe on the outside with heavy duty heat proof gloves to keep it level. It would have been best to secure it to the brick with tapping screws but we didn’t want to take a chance they wouldn’t hold – or make our hole even bigger. (If you don’t find a way to keep it level, it will likely twist while it is being soldered. It’s important to keep it level (but still on a downward slope) or it may not drain properly – and the last thing you want is to potentially cause the leak cycle all over again!).

To test whether the soldering job was successful or not, on the inside you can add some liquid soap around the joint, then turn the water back on. If there are any bubbles, you have a leak and must start again.

To finish off, we used a quick set concrete.

We first moistened inside the hole around the brick with water to prepare for the concrete application.

We mixed up the concrete in an old container with some water.

To fill the gaping hole and keep it neat, we scooped the concrete into a ziplock back, then cut a hole in the bag and squeezed it into the hole:

Don’t be tempted to merely use caulk on the outside instead of cement; the hole is too big and will be an invitation to critters, like mice, to find their way into your cosy home if it’s not sealed properly with cement. You can however, use some caulk on the inside to seal the pipe to the rim plate before you re-insulate (as you can see in the before picture – 7th from the top).

By the way, if you have an older home, have never turned off the water before winter and have never experienced a pipe burst, that’s probably because all your heat is escaping through the rim plate and keeping your pipes warm (instead of you!). You’re probably bleeding money on your heating expenses! Proper insulation combined with a frost free faucet can save a lot on heating bills! I learned that the hard way too – with my very first house.

The concrete repair of the hole turned out beautifully and we could water our garden once again! Once the concrete dried, we installed screws to keep from shifting.

Back on the inside of the house, we re-insulated the rim space before we closed up the ceiling again. Next time in this 3-part series, I’ll be explaining how we did mold remediation after the leak and how to get a ‘level 5 finish’ on your drywall repairs so you can achieve a flawless finish too.

We can’t laugh about this episode quite yet, but mistakes do happen and things are only fail-proof to a point, so it’s a hard lesson learned. Anyway, our pain is your gain, because if you live in a colder climate and don’t already have a frost proof faucet, you should install one!

Remember, if you have a standard sillcock, you MUST turn off your water AND disconnect your garden hose in the fall. With a frost-proof sillcock you don’t have to turn off the water, but you DO have to disconnect the hose. Don’t make the same mistake that we did; learn from our mistakes 🙂

Here are a few projects we finished in our basement prior to the leak:

Check out our ultimate guide to tiling a laundry room backsplash. We also added a new countertop:

We transformed part of the basement into a mancave:

Lastly, here’s my craft studio reveal. You’ll also find a project on how to create the one-of-a-kind VW storage cabinet/desk shown.

If you’re interested in following the water leak repair series but haven’t already subscribed, follow us here on Birdz of a Feather (link in footer) or Bloglovin’ (button below) for upcoming DIY home & garden projects, crafts and recipes!

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A TV Remote Control Caddy Worthy of the Mancave!

Revamped just in time for Christmas, this post has been totally re-written with better step-by-steps, a supply list, new pictures and variations on the project for gift giving (see Step 9: Variations for an updated colour scheme and versions for a two and three-remote caddy).

My husband spent all his spare time over the span of almost two years building a craft studio for me and a mancave for him in our basement. When he was nearing completion of this challenging project, I knew it meant he would be spending many a lazy weekend doing nothing but watching TV in his mancave. And why not? A little R&R is so well deserved after all his hard work!

But with a new TV, soundbar and blue-ray player, he suddenly had a ton of remotes that kept getting lost. There’s nothing worse than trying to have a lazy day only to be sidelined by spending time looking for remotes! I couldn’t wait to step in to help solve his problem (after all, I had no excuse not to with a brand new craft studio waiting to see some action)!

I gathered up some pipe fittings – some pulled apart from another project I wasn’t happy with. I also scrounged up some scraps of horsehair braid that I had used 25 years earlier to make my sister’s wedding veil. Lastly, I reused some magnetic hooks that used to be on our fridge before we replaced our old appliances.

All it took to complete was three hand tools: a pair of scissors, a stapler and some straight pins. It’s not only easy to do, but all done without any fancy equipment! If you have a sewing machine, you can even make the updated version of this project shown near the end!

Step 1: Watch the Video (and subscribe to our YouTube Channel)!

Watch this quick video to see it come together in no time at all.

You might think it odd that the end of the video shows my husband reaching for his remotes then sitting down; I couldn’t agree more! I shot it that way for the best vantage point – and because he didn’t have his side table finished yet (I guess there’s no rest for the weary)! After the video was done, he did finish his table (as you’ll see later) and then moved his remote control caddy beside the sofa right where it belongs for the best lazy-day experience 🙂

Step 2: You Will Need…

My particular caddy was made to hold four remotes. I used 1/8″ black pipe with the following fittings:

Pipe:

  • 2 – 2”
  • 5 – 3”
  • 2 – 4”
  • 2 – Closes
  • 3 – Couplings
  • 4 – 90 Elbows
  • 2 – Pipe Caps
  • 2 – Tees

Other:

  • 4 Magnetic Hooks
  • Horsehair braid:
    • Narrow – 2 ft
    • Wide – 1 ft
  • Stapler
  • Straight pins
  • Epoxy glue (optional)
  • Self stick foam (optional)*

Horsehair braid is a type of tubular crinoline netting that is used to provide structure and give body to hems, hats and sleeves. For this project, it provides just enough flexibility to withstand the constant motion of placing and removing the remotes.

The schematic above will help you identify the pieces when assembling.

* Note: As an option, you can add self stick foam onto the front and back of the magnet hooks to give the remotes something soft to rest on. Just peel the backing, stick it on and cut around the edges (and the magnet to expose it) with an X-acto knife. If you look closely at the opening picture, you’ll see I covered the magnet hooks with black foam in this way.

Step 3: Determine the Configuration

Trial Run

The size of the caddy will based on the number of remotes you have and how long they are, so it may take a little trial and error to determine the best configuration, size and scale for your own caddy. For instance, if your remotes are shorter than ours, you may not need 4″ pipe on the sides; maybe you could get away with using 3″ pipe instead.

In a nutshell, there are 3 main steps to putting this together: the pipe, the sling (made of the horsehair braid) and the magnets. I did a trial run first by putting everything together to make sure our particular remotes would fit. When twisting the pieces together for the trial, don’t over-tighten or they may be difficult to get apart again.

There are two tests of a good design: does the sling work and is the back of the remotes supported by the pipe? I tested both by putting the remotes into the loops of the sling and removing them again to make sure the fit was snug enough to hold them but loose enough to pull out when they’re in use. If the back of each of the various remotes makes contact with the pipe, you’re good to go. Once I was happy with the design, I took the top part off so I could slide the sling off.

To Start (refer to schematic in Step 2)

To put the pipe together, start at the bottom by making two legs out of 4″ pipe with caps on the ends. Twist these pieces onto the two tees. Join them together in the middle with a 3″ piece, and add 2″ pieces on the outside followed by the elbows. At the top of the elbow, twist on 4″ pieces for the vertical sides.

To make the sling, I used two different widths of horsehair braid. I applied the narrow braid on top of the wider one, which acted as a backing. I secured them both to one side of the pipe using a straight pin to hold it in place. Then I measured my husband’s remotes to determine how big the opening needed to be for each one. I left slack in the top piece to accommodate each remote and fastened it to the backing it with a pin so I ended up with ‘loops’. I fastened both pieces of braid to the other side of the pipe, again using a pin.

Step 4: Attach Horsehair Braid

Once I was happy with the fit, I slid the braid off of the pipes, then I used a very specialized piece of equipment to permanently secure the loops in the braid where I placed my pins – a stapler! Using a stapler is the quick and lazy way to put together the sling that holds the remotes. It not only does the trick, but it works well with the industrial look I was going for.

Slide the braid back onto the frame.

Trim away any extra braid from the sides.

Step 5: Close Pipe

Continue building the top piece until it’s fully enclosed: start by adding elbows to both sides.

Then assemble the upper horizontal support separately starting with a coupling in the middle.

On either side, twist on 3″ pieces of pipe, another coupling and then a close.

To get the horizontal support in place, insert it into the elbow and twist into place. Pull the sides of the frame apart and ease the pipe into the elbow fitting on the other side.

Snug it in until it nestles into place; it will hold together with gravity. Make sure everything is fitting tightly. Twist pieces as necessary to adjust the fit.

Step 6: Ensure Frame Is Angled

Here’s how the frame should look when assembled before the magnets are added. Notice in the second picture that the frame is angled back – not straight up and down – to support the remotes.

If yours isn’t angled, you can easily press down on the legs and tilt back to adjust it. Once you have it the way you want it, make sure all the pipes are tightened.

Step 7: Bottom Rest

The tricky part of this project is getting the remotes to rest properly on the bottom of the pipe since it is curved. Magnetic hooks solve that dilemma since they stick to iron and can be positioned to hold the remotes. I remembered I had three of them in a drawer – reclaimed from the days we had magnets on our fridge. You’ll need about one magnet for each remote. Luckily I also had an unopened package because I needed four magnetic hooks for this project!

By positioning the magnetic hooks on pipe along the bottom, and tilting them backward, it provides a perfect angle to rest the remotes on. If you have young kids in the house though, secure them with epoxy glue and let dry so they can’t be removed.

Here’s a closeup of the magnet:

The hook part of the magnet supports the back of the remote to keep it in place at the bottom.

The next picture shows how it looks from the back with the remotes resting on the magnetic hooks.

Step 8: Time to Bring the Lazy Boy Wannabe and La-Z-Boy Together

The remote control caddy is a great enabler to help you spend a lazy weekend on the couch watching TV. Here’s my lazy boy wannable hard at work on his mancave during its completion.

My husband’s final project for the mancave was to build himself this pipe table to go with his new remote caddy.

With the basement reno finally complete and the TV remote control caddy set up on his side table, my husband can finally kick back in his mancave and enjoy! Now my lazy boy wannabe can chillax on his La-z-boy sofa with his remote controls at his finger tips. I can’t wait to see his best imitation of a couch potato; not all wives would say this, but I sincerely hope it lasts a while too 🙂

Step 9: Variations

After making the original prototype for my husband, I made a new and improved version as gifts for my sister and brother-in-law using cork ribbon and black horsehair braid. The cork ribbon was wide, so I ended up cutting it narrower as shown below.

To make it more child-friendly, I used the plastic clips from a dollar store package of string lights to replace the magnetic hooks on the bottom.

The clips just snap right onto the pipe at the bottom of the caddy. They are difficult to remove and don’t require glue to keep them in place so are safer around the prying hands of little ones.

Instead of the twist-on metal end caps, I replaced them with these rubber tips. These were left over from my husband’s kiting days and fit perfectly on the ends. They are a better choice because they help protect the table surface.

Whereas my husband’s caddy had room for four remotes, I had to adapt the size of the caddy to fit three remotes for my sister and only two remotes for my brother-in-law.

To make these sturdier for gift giving, I sewed the horsehair braid to the ribbon with black thread instead of using the stapler.

Here they are the two different sizes side by side….

…. and from the back:

For the caddy holding three remotes, I place the clips facing backward:

For the caddy holding two remotes, it worked better to switch the placement of the clips to the front as shown below:

Here is the two-remote version with the remotes in place:

The black/cork combination for the back sling looks much more attractive for the mancave – it’s much a more ‘masculine’ look than the original. If the plastic clips were black, they’d blend in better. If you don’t have kids, I think the perfect combo would be this sling with the magnet hooks on the bottom, but they both work!

Spread the Laziness (and Please Pin)

Spread the laziness by making this as a gift! You just have to do a little detective work to find out how many remotes your recipient has so you can determine how big to make it. My sister and brother-in-law both loved theirs!

If you enjoyed this project, please pin and share.

Pictured below are some other gift ideas you might want to try your hand at. Know any dog lovers? Make this unique bone-shaped gift basket to spoil your favourite pooch. You can then use it as a toy organizer when all the goodies are gone.

BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag: This bag to holds a bottle of wine and a gift card to a favourite restaurant. Makes a thoughtful wine ‘n dine host or hostess gift:

Shot Glass Oil Burning Candles. Who doesn’t love ambient candle light? This oil burning version could be adapted for any occasion (New Years, Valentines Day etc.) where candle light can add a tranquil element to your decor.

Visit the ‘Craft Rehab‘ section of our site to browse more sustainable craft ideas.

If you haven’t already subscribed, follow us here on Birdz of a Feather (link in footer) or Bloglovin’ (button below) for upcoming DIY home & garden projects, crafts and recipes!

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Ugly Christmas Socks!

Whenever my brother-and-sister-in-law host Christmas, it’s always a hoot. They go out of their way to make it interesting with games and competitions – for the little kids and big ones (aka the adults) alike. A few years ago, my B-I-L and S-I-L introduced an ‘ugly sock contest’ to the festivities – a twist on ugly Christmas sweaters. I don’t know how they came up with the idea but I’m always up to a fun challenge so was eager to get started.

I ended up making matching ugly socks for both me and hubs. I started with some festive dollar store toe socks and an empty lip balm container (the one I actually used was shorter than the one shown below).

I used the empty lip balm container combined with the top of a pen sporting a red tip and fastened them together with double-faced tape (don’t use glue if you want the pen back afterwards!). I also used a pen shaped as a lipstick, red tip and all, (like the one shown below) to fashion two rocket-like objects (one for each of us).

In retrospect, the lipstick pen would make a great stocking stuffer – but I chose to use it ‘outside of the stocking’!

SOURCE of Lipstick Shaped Ball Point Pen: Amazon

I sewed a piece of velcro below the first toe on the sock. This is my sock below; the velcro is on the left foot. For hubs, I attached the velcro to his right sock.

I wrapped the lip balm container with glitter vinyl to match the metal of the pen used for the other rocket. To make it even more rocket-like, I also fashioned the burning fuel flare coming out the ends out of more glitter vinyl and added an ID number using Letraset (SN-2 for me and CN-5 for hubs).

Here’s a close up of the ‘rockets’:

On the back of the rockets, glue another piece of velcro (the hook side that corresponds with the fuzzy piece sewn beneath the toe). Knot a piece of thin elastic into a circle and glue it just above the velcro (this will help stabliize the rocket once it’s on the sock).

Wrap the elastic now on the rocket around the big toe. Here, it’s shown from the back.

Flip the rocket around and bring the two pieces of velcro together to connect them.

Here it is once attached. 

A left foot for me and a right foot for hubs is shown below:

I got the smaller rocket because, as hubs always jokes, my feet are like stumps (my toes don’t even fill the socks!). Hubs on the other hand has piano toes so he can sport the bigger one 🙂

Confused? Have you guessed where I’m going with this? If not, all will be clear and you’ll understand when you see the reveal at the very end!

To accompany my ugly socks I upcycled some old leg warmers. Remember those? I can’t believe I still had some tucked away. I found a great graphic on the internet and turned it into a knit pattern. I used my scraps of black, red and white cotton yarn to spell out ‘Bah Humpug’ under a pug wearing a Santa hat! I stitched it onto the front of one of the leg warmers.

I’d like to attribute the original source of the pug graphic, but several different t-shirt companies are using it so I have no idea who the original creator was to link to (if anyone can figure it out, let me know so I can update)!

Getting back to the ugly toe socks, like my late father-in-law always used to say, ‘People have more fun than anyone’! But since I’m such a punny girl myself, I’ve adapted his saying to ‘People have more pun than anyone’!

SPOILER ALERT: if puns drive you crazy, drive the other way now 🙂

CREDIT: Lim Heng Swee aka ilovedoodle

So below is the final ugly toe socks as modeled by me and hubs. If you haven’t already figured it out, it’s ‘missle toe’! Get it? It’s a play on ‘Mistletoe‘.

I’ll get a lot of traction out of this project this Christmas. Don’t tell (shhh), but I’ve turned it into this year’s Christmas card – similar to the final reveal below! I know my husband’s side of the family will appreciate the silly humour in it 🙂

If you found this project amusing, please pin and share!

Did you know the tradition of hanging Mistletoe goes back to the times of the ancient Druids and is supposed to bring good luck to the household? ‘Missile toe’ didn’t bring us luck in the contest however: we came in just a foot or two behind the winner. The grand winner was our hostess’ father who cut off the toes of his socks and bared his naked toes (it was a consensus that nobody could top that for ugly). If this was a humour contest, I’m still not sure if we would have won hands down (or should I say feet down?): those ugly toes peering through the socks for all the world to gaze upon were pretty funny too. I guess I must have been having too much fun at the Christmas party because unfortunately I didn’t photograph the winner and other contenders 🙁

If you feel like being adventurous, why not take the ugly Christmas sock concept one step further: make ugly Christmas stockings to adorn the mantle! Personalize them for each family member and see if everyone can guess which one is theirs!

Check out my other seasonal ideas for both Christmas and Hanukkah:

BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag:

Shot Glass Oil Burning Candles:

Reusable Wicks:

Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art:

This one could be adapted for Christmas; you could hang one on the tree for each family member!

If you enjoyed this wild and wacky post and are curious to see what comes next, you can follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (button below).

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

 

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Hanukkah Menorah: Innovative Wicks for Oil Burning Candles!

My family celebrates both Hanukkah and Christmas. In this post, I’m showing you how to make my newest and most innovative creation to date! I’m making wicks for oil burning candles that are re-usable, cheap, readily available and burn safely.

In my previous post, I showed you how to transform these shot glasses into festive oil burning candles. Here’s how they started out; notice the logo:

At the end of the post you’ll see how pretty they turned out in the final display!

Safety Precautions (Please Read Before Skipping to the Tutorial if you Didn’t See it in My Previous Post!)

In my last post, someone asked, “how do I know if my shotglasses are heat safe”?

The only way I know of telling if glass is tempered or safety glass is to view the glass through polarized lenses in bright light – preferably sunlight. Most people have polarized sunglasses so this is ideal.

If you try to view tempered glass in sunlight with a polarized pair of sunglasses, you will see lines stretching across its surface (and sometimes dark shady spots) – which is a good indicator that the glass is toughened. These are formed during the tempering process. Try this method first on a glass that you already know is heat safe: a Pyrex measuring cup or glass dish for instance that’s marked microwave safe. You should notice the wavy lines I’m taking about.

Note though that even glass that is heat tempered is not guaranteed against breaking or cracking. Two of the most common causes of glass breaking due to the heat from a candle flame is first, a wick that is not centered and allowed to get too close to the side, and second is a flame that gets too close to the bottom.

To combat these potential problems:

  1. Fill the shot glass with enough water before adding the oil. In a traditional wax candle, if the flame reaches the bottom of the container, too much heat may be concentrated at the base of the wick which could cause the glass to crack. Water in an oil burning candle will prevent that from happening because the flame never gets lower than the surface of the water. Along with the water, my DIY wicks (which I’ll post tomorrow) has a binder clip that surrounds 2 metal posts. This design acts as an additional safety precaution to keep the heat from reaching the bottom of the wick/glass – however the water level will snuff out the flame before that happens.
  2. Centre the wick in the glass! The binder clip will help you do this because it is oblong on the bottom which will help you place it better centred than if you use a store bought wick (which tends to be very small and circular).
  3. 3. Proper cautions should be taken when burning oil candles, as with any other style candle. Protect the surface the candle is sitting on by placing it on a heat-resistant holder (I used a metal topped plant stand – Satsumas, made by Ikea which is non combustible).
  4. Keep the candle away from anything flammable (I rolled up my roman shades for instance to keep them out of the way).
  5. These particular candle only burn for just over 1/2 an hour, however, never leave a burning candle unattended. I didn’t check to see whether the shot glasses I used were tempered, however I’ve never had a problem with all the safety precautions outlined above. With proper supervision, a glass oil burning candle will give you beautiful ambient light, so keep all of the above in mind 🙂

On to Making Oil Burning Wicks!

To light up the candles, I experimented with many different materials and came up with TWO sustainable wick designs; last year I showed you a k-cup version. This year’s version is much better: it uses nothing more than a binder clip, some 100% cotton string and the post portion from some garment snaps. If you can find silver binder clips for this project (vs. the traditional black), they blend in better with the shot glasses.

While I used my wicks to create a display for Hanukkah (otherwise known as the Festival of Lights), these will also work to create oil candles any time of year and for any occasion. Try it out for Christmas, New years or even Valentines Day (there’s nothing more romantic than the glow of candle light)!

Making the Wicks with Binder Clips!

Gather up:

  • 100% cotton string
  • Two snaps (you only need the posts)*
  • Small binder clip

* Note: the post should be large enough to feed the string through the hole.

Cut a piece of 100% cotton string. The size will depend on the container you use. I used a shot glass that was 2 1/2″ high so I cut my string to that length.

A silver binder clip is less noticeable in the glass but if all you have is black, go for it!

Soak the string in olive oil. If you are doing a bunch of them, pour the olive oil into a container and soak all the strings until thoroughly saturated. DON’T FORGET TO SOAK THE STRINGS FIRST BEFORE ASSEMBLY – THIS IS INTEGRAL TO KEEPING YOUR CANDLE LIT.

Tie a knot in one end of the string.

Insert the knotted string through the long part of the post portion of a metal snap so the knot cradles under the hole (see the picture below, paying attention to the direction).

Open a binder clip and insert the knotted end of the post, then close the clip again to tighten it against the post.

Thread another metal snap through the string – again the post part, but this time the other side up (like a hat sitting on top).

Remove both binder clip arms.

Fill a shot glass about 1/2 full with water.

Then add 1/2 a heaping teaspoon of olive oil into the water; it will rise to the top and float.

Grab by the string and place the wick into the liquid so it rests on the bottom of the shot glass. It will stand up because the clip has a square bottom. Remember that it’s important to centre the wick in the glass; you want to prevent the wick from hitting the side as described in the safety precautions.

Use a lighter to light the wick to test one out (don’t forget that the entire wick must have been soaked in olive oil first).

Here’s how the test run looks before I made over the all the shot glasses. You’ll notice that I fashioned a Star of David out of blue glass nuggets:

With a heaping 1/2 teaspoon of olive oil in the shot glass, the oil candle should stay lit for approximately half an hour.

Prepare all shot glasses at once (8 if making for Hanukkah) and transport them to where you will be lighting them (i.e. don’t light first and then transport!).

Don’t forget to soak the wicks in oil first before you light them and only use a metal snap and binder clip to make these (i.e. no plastic!).

For a menorah, you’ll need one more shot glass for the lead candle. It’s easier to have a real candle for this purpose so you can easily light the other oil burning candles. I put blue aquarium gravel in the base to hold the candle straight up.

I cut the lid from a K-cup and poked a bigger hole through the middle of the foil to accommodate the candle.

Then I inserted the candle through the hole (1/4 sticking through the bottom and the rest on top). Just make sure you have the foil side, and not the advertising, facing up. This serves two purposes: it keeps melted candle wax from burning your hand (a pet peeve of mine). The foil ‘shield’ of the K-cup collar catches any of the hot wax drippings as you light the other candles! It also allows the candle to sit on top of the shot glass without chance of it tipping over (remember to push the bottom of the candle firmly into the aquarium gravel). As an added bonus, the candle light will bounce off the foil and give additional ambient light. One more precaution; if your K-cup lid is made of a paper/plastic combination instead of foil, I don’t think I would trust it with hot wax (even if it is meant to come in contact with hot water). Either don’t use a collar (you can still secure the candle deeper into the gravel – or even sand – without it), or remove the paper from the rim of the K-cup and then hot glue your own piece of foil around the rim.

To clean these reusable wicks, take apart the posts from the binder clips. Toss them into a mesh bag as shown below and pop them into the dishwasher where you would normally load your cutlery.

When they come out, they’ll be clean, degreased and ready to use again with fresh pieces of cotton.

Here’s how they look lit up on the last day of Hanukkah:

Look how beautifully they glow; you’ll appreciate it even more if you watch this video below:

This is an upcycle that you can use over and over in conjunction with the shot glasses (but of course, you’ll need to replace the cotton string for the wick each time you do).

Now that you’ve seen how to make the wicks, if you missed it, head on over to the tutorial that shows you how I upcycled the shot glasses for this project.

If you’re interested in seeing the K-cup version of the wicks, see my previous holiday post (you’ll find it starts about half way down the page).

Of all my sustainable innovations, the oil burning wick is high on my list of favourites. Check out these other recent innovations on Birdz of a Feather (the first one is a Christmas gift idea):

BYOB Upcycled Gift Bag:

This one could be adapted for Christmas too; you could hang one on the tree for each family member!

Plastic Clamshell Shrink Art:

CO2 Detector Wall Safe:

If you enjoyed learning how to make your own sustainable wicks, please pin and share! You can follow us right here on Birdz of a Feather (link in the footer) or on Bloglovin’ (button below).

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

Decoupaged Medicine Cabinet | Birdz of a Feather

This Is How We Roll Thursday Party

 

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